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Youth expression at CARIFESTA X

© UNICEF/Neils:2008
Young people from the Islamic community having fun with the camera

Georgetown, Guyana, August 25th, 2008 –  There was much excitement in the air as Carifesta X Youth Village was officially opened in the National Park today as part of the ten-day celebration of the Caribbean Festival of Arts. Hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, thousands of youth and adults participated in the official opening of CARIFESTA’s first ever Youth Village, with music, drumming, dance and poetry performed by artistes from the Caribbean and Latin America.

During the first fun filled day, UNICEF’s Digiplay team consisting of 15 youth trainers from Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago conducted Digiplay Workshops for some 30 children and adolescents in the use of the Digital Playground (DP) software. Under the theme, “One Caribbean, One People, Our Life, Our Culture”, the Youth Village will provide an opportunity for youths to showcase as well as experience culture, while at the same time being exposed to skills that will encourage meaningful participation and appreciation for the region’s way of life.

The Youth Village which runs from Monday August 25 to Friday August 29, 2008 focuses specifically on youth and edutainment and UNICEF’s Digiplay team has already produced more than 13 one minute video documentaries over the last two days.
One day prior to the official opening of the CARIFESTA X Youth Village,  22 enthusiastic youngsters from the Muslim community became familiar with digital cameras and the Digital Playground software, with which they produced their own one minute videos. This was part of the special religious celebrations during Carifesta to mark the contributions of the Islamic community to the Guyanese culture.

© UNICEF/Neils:2008
Sharing thoughts and making movies at the Digiplay lab at Carifesta X.

To start the workshop all participants watched an introductory movie about Digital Playground. The youth then became motivated to go out with their cameras and collect their footage. Working in pairs, the participants creatively captured different shots that would help them to produce one minute videos on issues which they considered important in their personal lives. With the help of the DP trainers, the participants, for whom working with a digital camera was in some cases a completely new experience, were able to record the footage. This material was taken back to the Digiplay Youth Laboratory where the child friendly software guided the participants through the editing process by creating scenes and including audio-visual effects. At the end of the workshop all pairs had produced their own movies on topics ranging from Muslim fashion to environmental protection, health and a child’s right to play and rest.

Remy, a 24 year old  trainer from Suriname noted that, compared to the regular DP workshops, the setting of the Digplay lab at CARIFESTA X provided an additional positive spin-off.  He said, “Besides the fact that only youngsters are involved in the workshops, also other visitors will see and experience from outside, the way UNICEF promotes regional development through the use of this artistic and technological platform.”

While thirteen year old Jonathan Jagdeo from Trinidad and Tobago, one the three CARIFESTA regional art competition winners, added that, “It’s a good idea from UNICEF, both educational and entertaining, teaching children how to use the computer and showing the creative side of young people.”

Throughout the five days the videos will be aired daily on electronic display screens strategically located in the Youth Village for public viewing. Video documentaries will feature themes of interest including culture, art, music, education, violence and abuse, HIV and AIDS prevention.

UNICEF’s Digiplay Laboratory is an interactive centre for youth to develop their talents and express their creativity in film through one minute videos, while at the same time addressing needs and issues affecting youths. Joel Joseph, a trainer and member from Youth Media Guyana stated that, “the workshops have been relatively successful thus far in terms of patronization from young people.”
Digiplay workshops will be conducted for more than 200 children in the UNICEF booth at the CARIFESTA Youth Village and over 75 one minute video documentaries are expected to be produced by children, adolescents and trainers participating in the workshops.
CARIFESTA is a celebration of the cultural diversity unique to the Caribbean. The festival is organized every two years in a different Caribbean country and brings together thousands of artists, performers and spectators from all over the Caribbean and the world. CARIFESTA aims to depict the life of the people of the Region, their heroes, morale, myth, traditions, beliefs, creativeness, and ways of expression. From 22-31 August, the festival will be organized in Guyana. During CARIFESTA, UNICEF will be supporting a number of activities focusing on children and adolescents.

For more information:
Leslyn Thompson, lthompson@unicef.org, UNICEF Guyana
Ayanna Eastman, aeastman@unicef.org, UNICEF Trinidad and Tobago

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.


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